Laser Epilation - A New Form Of Hair Removal.
'Laser Epilation' seems to be the new 'hot topic' in electrolysis today. Everyone from electrologists to equipment manufacturers to suppliers and even to electronic tweezing companies have taken notice.
The laser is not new to electrolysis. As early as 1981, Lasetron was using an argon laser in an attempt to destroy the follicular regeneration apparatus. Since that time, however, there seems to be a lot of misinformation and hysteria associated with laser technology.
We need to step back and take a more informed look at the process and how it relates to the electrolysis profession. What is a laser? And what is its potential for actually destroying hair follicles and competing with standard electrolysis methods?
Destruction of living tissue, especially of hair roots, by means of an electric current applied with a needle-shaped electrode.
A laser is simply an electrical apparatus which produces light. Laser light is different from the light we encounter every day in two special ways.
- The first is that laser light is monochromatic. This means that it has only one color, unlike white light which is composed of all colors.
- The second way is that laser light is coherent. If we define light as electromagnetic radiant energy which produces a visual effect, light is basically a vibrating electromagnetic field. The term coherent means that all the vibrations are in the exact same direction and not in all directions, thereby causing the 'perfect' beam of light.
| The Laser
(Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation) Soon after the invention of the laser in 1960, it was described as "a solution in search of a problem".
However, since that time, the laser has found a place as a useful tool in many scientific, military, medical and industrial applications.
What happens when laser light hits human tissue? It produces heat, similar to our own thermolysis. Where the laser produces its heat is dependent solely on what tissue absorbs the particular light.
When speaking of human skin and hair follicles, there are essentially only three substances which can absorb the light energy and be heated up:
- Water (found in all tissue)
You could also introduce a non-tissue substance to the skin which would absorb laser light, as well. This approach is being utilized by one laser method now in development.
Current Laser Methods
Considering these facts, let's compare laser methods currently being used today:
Thermolysis, when using an insulated probe, is capable of heating all water-containing tissue in all directions from the exposed parcel of the probe. How far you heat is dependent on timing and intensity.
(from thermo- meaning heat and -lysis meaning break down) A chemical process by which a subtance is decomposed into other substances by use of heat.
What you heat depends on how well you have inserted the probe. You also have the advantage of using an inexpensive, thin, pointed probe that facilitates good insertions.
Compare this with the thicker, probe-type laser being developed, which is inserted into a follicle using an expensive, delicate and questionably pointed laser probe that can only shine light in a very narrow, cylindrical pattern in front of it.
To destroy the dermal papilla would require much more accuracy than thermolysis, which, as we've mentioned, has a broader heating pattern.
A second type of laser being developed to destroy hair shines light from the surface of the skin down along the hair follicle to the root. It will be very difficult to accurately and repeatedly hit the dermal papilla, or bulb area, which is only one to several thousandths of an inch in diameter.
In most cases, you will end up destroying significant amounts of tissue all around the follicle, and only occasionally hit the dermal papilla. In essence, the ratio of normal tissue to follicular tissue will be quite high and a significant amount of pain will be experienced.
Carbon Lotion Method
The third method of laser epilation being developed requires a carbon-containing lotion to be rubbed into the hairy skin, hoping that the carbon particles will coat the hair follicle with carbon.
The skin surface is then scanned with laser light which heats the carbon particles around the hair and upper follicle. The problem with this method is that the carbon particles cannot penetrate the follicle any deeper than the follicular infundibulum, and most will not get much beyond the skin surface because of the hair shaft and other cellular debris filling up the infundibulum.
As a result, some of the hairs will be singed off to create an effect not much different than that of chemical depilatories and certainly will not be permanent. This is a rather expensive temporary means of epilation.
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I have done full body laser hair removal and do recommend it to everyone as it is safe, effective, and once complete, saves the time spent before on shaving. Check with your local hair removal specialist to see what type of laser they use for their hair removal procedures to be sure that it will be effective with your skin type.
God Bless and Good Health Always,
Bethany Carter Howlett MBA, MS, CSCS